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TELUS to provide free smartphones and wireless services in Ontario to Indigenous women at risk or surviving violence

Press Release

November 2, 2022

Expanding TELUS Mobility for Good program with new partners Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) and Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT)

Toronto (the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples) – Today, TELUS launched its Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk program in Ontario, in partnership with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) and Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT). While Indigenous women and girls comprise only four per cent of the total female population in Canada, they represent 24 per cent of female homicide victims and are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other women in Canada. Developed in partnership with Indigenous-led organizations, Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk provides free smartphones and fully subsidized talk, text and data plans to Indigenous women, girls or gender diverse people, serving as a critical lifeline to Indigenous-led services, wellness resources, and their support networks.

“Having a cellular device and reliable network is a vital lifeline, ensuring no matter where you live or socio-economic status, you can always access critical health, safety and wellness services,” said Jill Schnarr, Chief Social Innovation Officer, TELUS. “The expansion of Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk to Ontario is part of our ongoing commitment to be a valued partner in advancing Reconciliation and responding to the 231 Calls for Justice, specifically Justice 15 to support and promote Indigenous women’s health, safety and wellness. Leveraging our world-leading technology for good, we are proud to partner with Indigenous-led organizations that are helping deliver accessible services to prevent and end violence, and offering Indigenous women and girls in need a path to independence, enabling them to make safe choices for themselves and their families.”

With the support of TELUS, NCFST and NWRCT are starting to distribute smartphones and plans to support Indigenous women in Ontario who are at risk of, or surviving, violence. Since launching the program in 2021, TELUS and their partners in B.C. and Alberta have supported nearly 1,000 Indigenous women. TELUS plans to partner with additional Indigenous-led organizations across Canada to further expand the reach and impact of this program into the future.

“Low-barrier access to smartphones supports wellness for Indigenous women, both as a critical safety measure and also a means of maintaining connection with family and community,” said Melissa Hamonic, Director, Holistic Services, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. “We are grateful to walk with the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT) alongside TELUS as they continue to walk a path of truth and reconciliation.”

“We are honoured to work with TELUS on this initiative to support learnings on reconciliation and provide essential connection tools for women of the community,” said Pamela Hart, Executive Director, Native Women Resource Centre of Toronto. “Through the pandemic and continuously, the community faces barriers, disconnection and through provision of devices, we can maintain interactions. It is more than a phone or device, it’s connection to community, learning, culture and sometimes, a lifeline.”

TELUS Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk is part of the TELUS Connecting for Good portfolio of programs that gives individuals in need in Canada access to TELUS’ world-leading technology. To date, TELUS’ Connecting for Good programs have supported more than 315,000 individuals since inception.

TELUS has a longstanding commitment to strengthening relationships with Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, acknowledging that our work spans many Traditional Territories and Treaty areas. Last year, TELUS announced its Indigenous Reconciliation Commitment and Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan. For more information on TELUS’ Reconciliation commitment, please visit telus.com/reconciliation.

About TELUS TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $17 billion in annual revenue and 17 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. Our social purpose is to leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to drive social change and enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. The numerous, sustained accolades TELUS has earned over the years from independent, industry-leading network insight firms showcase the strength and speed of TELUS’ global-leading networks, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better.

Operating in 28 countries around the world, TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that designs, builds, and delivers next-generation solutions, including AI and content moderation, for global and disruptive brands across high-growth industry verticals, including tech and games, communications and media and eCommerce and fintech.

TELUS Health is a global healthcare company, which provides employee and family preventative healthcare and wellness solutions. Our TELUS team, along with our 100,000 health professionals, are leveraging the combination of TELUS’ strong digital and data analytics capabilities with our unsurpassed client service to dramatically improve remedial, preventative and mental health outcomes for over 50 million people, and growing, around the world. As the largest provider of digital solutions and digital insights of its kind, TELUS Agriculture & Consumer Goods enables efficient and sustainable production from seed to store, helping improve the safety and quality of food and other goods in a way that is traceable to end consumers.

Driven by our determination and vision to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $900 million, in cash, in-kind contributions, time and programs, and 1.8 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.

About Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is a multi-service urban Aboriginal agency providing holistic, culture-based programs and services for Aboriginal children and families. NCFST strives to provide a life of quality, well-being, healing, and self-determination for children and families in the Toronto urban Aboriginal community. We do this by implementing a service model that is culture-based and respects the values of Aboriginal people, the extended family and the right to self-determination.

Established in 1986, by Elders, knowledge keepers, grassroots leaders, and community members, NCFST has been supporting Aboriginal children and families in Toronto for more than three decades. In 2004 NCFST was directed by the Aboriginal community to accept a child welfare mandate to decolonize Aboriginal child welfare in the City of Toronto. NCFST continues to do this work through the integration of holistic, culturally-based prevention services that are child centred, family focused, and community driven.

Guided by the vision of providing holistic, culture-based integrated services with the guidance of the Aboriginal community, NCFST offers a full range of prevention programs, treatment and healing services, early years programs, youth programs, and cultural and recreational programs to all members of Toronto’s urban Aboriginal community.

About Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto

The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto provides a safe and welcoming environment for all Indigenous women and their children in the Greater Toronto Area. Our programs offer wrap-around blanket services to address and support Basic Needs, Housing, Families, Advocacy, Employment, Education, Healing from Trauma, and Access to Ceremonies and Traditional Practitioners/ Healers.

NWRCT aims to build confidence and capacity within the collective community. We host a variety of Cultural Activities for our clients and the general public, including the Minaake Awards, Sisters In Spirit Vigil, and Winter Solstice. We honour the vision of our founders as we support urban Indigenous women and children from all walks of life. We build self-sufficiency and develop collective capacity to make positive change. We provide individual support, group programming, and cultural initiatives. NWRCT offers an opportunity for reconnection to ceremony and culture to build the confidence and capacity within the woman and to strengthen the family unit.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Saara Rahikka TELUS Media Relations [email protected]

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